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South Valley Journal

Swimming: A Summertime Sport And Competition

Jun 12, 2015 04:50PM ● By Greg James

Herriman water polo teams won state championships in elementary girls and placed fourth in the boys division. Photo courtesy of

School is out and summertime boredom has set in. Time to try swimming! J.L. Sorenson Recreation Center in Herriman has all that you need: open plunge, swimming lessons, competitive swim teams and adult exercise classes.

“Swimming has become more popular. It is fun and the best sport ever. When you swim a lap at the pool your body does 100 percent of the work with 70 percent of the oxygen, so your body is working a lot harder,” Brittany Taylor, an aquatics coordinator at J.L. Sorenson Recreation Center, said.

Swimming is considered a total-body workout. It tackles every part of your body, sculpting your arms, toning your back and working your legs. Swimming provides an unparalleled cardiovascular conditioning workout. While running or cycling may be more effective at elite levels, incorporating swimming into your cross-training routine will result in overall improved fitness.

The J.L. Sorenson Recreation Center offers several opportunities for you and your family to swim and have some fun. Open plunge is the most popular activity and the pool is open most days, noon to 8:30 p.m. The leisure pool offers a large interactive play structure and several slides. The pool is open to all ages, although children five and under must be within arms length of a responsible adult. 

“Our pools are never empty, but we have lots of room for everyone. Our open plunge times are great family time. We also offer other opportunities to use the pool with coaches with certification and swimming experience,” Taylor said.

The recreation center offers three types of lessons if you are beginner: group lessons, private or semi-private, and otter club lessons for those with disabilities. 

The pool also offers opportunities for more advanced swimmers. The youth pre-competition swim team, J.L. Squids, focuses on stroke technique, builds endurance and teaches the swimmer how to compete. The Squids have monthly swim meets against other county teams. 

More advanced racers can join the Devil Ray Aquatic Team.

“Our club has been around for almost 15 years. We practice at J.L Sorenson and Dimple Dell [10670 South 1000 East in Sandy]. We are a private organization led by parents and volunteers with about 130 swimmers on the team.” Devil Ray board member Allen Anderson said.
The Devil Ray Aquatic Team had several swimmers place well at the short course state finals in March. Photo courtesy of Devil Ray Aquatic Team

 The Devil Ray swim team is for ages 6 to 18 and is a USA sanctioned team, the same organization that Olympic swimmers such as Michael Phelps belongs to. Many of the team members swim two hours a day, three times a week. They are coached by Lela Hiatt, Rachael Gill, Mike McCorvy and Mark Hiatt (former Riverton High Swim coach).

The Devil Rays are holding a swim-a-thon June 24 at 4 p.m. at the Draper outdoor pool (657 East Vestry Road). The fundraiser will help the team raise funds to pay for lane rental. More information on the team can be found on their website

“When my daughter started swimming she had so much fun and her grades were better,” Anderson said.

At the Utah short course state championships March 21, Sarah Gill took first in every 10-and-under race she entered. Callie Anderson, Amelia Deer and Peyton Ming also finished in the top 10.

Swimming competitively is not just for youth. Adult swim groups are available for ages 18 and older. This is great for beginners, triathletes, health and fitness enthusiasts and former competitive swimmers. The pool also offers a triathlon training program.

If racing is not your game but you still want to participate, the pool offers more options. They include water aerobics, exercise programs, aqua Zumba, water kick boxing, hydro tone and even senior nights for those who are young at heart. 

Water polo is also available. The Herriman High School water polo program boasts the 2015 elementary school state champion, the girls state champion, and the boys finished fourth overall.

There are many opportunities at J.L. Sorenson to jump in the pool. People who consistently swim strenuously enough to be out of breath when they finish do burn calories and lose weight. Putting on a swimsuit and appearing in public is a motivation for one to shed a few pounds.

Swimming is also a great social outlet. Leave your smart phone in your locker and meet others. Imagine meeting the man/woman of your dreams while exercising. The possibilities of building a romance fueled by peer motivation and mutual interests have been proven to be more sustaining.

“We are always looking for more swimmers. We have had kids from this area go to the Olympic trials and national meets. There are plenty of college scholarships available for swimmers. Some of our kids start in the developmental lanes and get better and better each day,” Anderson said. 

It is time to get off the couch and jump in. Don’t forget your suit!